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The State of Soils in Africa and Priorities for Sustainable Soil Management - Victor O. Chude

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Global Soil Partnership Plenary Assembly – Sixth Session
Afrisoils, Side event
11 – 13 June 2018
FAO HQ

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The State of Soils in Africa and Priorities for Sustainable Soil Management - Victor O. Chude

  1. 1. Prof Victor O. Chude Chair, African Soil Partnership (AfSP)
  2. 2. African Soil Under Pressure African soils are under pressure 55% of Africa’s soil unsuitable for any agriculture except nomadic grazing ~ 16% high quality soil ~ 13% medium quality soil 70% of African people depend on the little available land for agriculture
  3. 3. Soil quality in Africa is affected by: • Soil degradation • nutrient depletion • erosion • desertification • acidification • soil organic carbon decline • salinization • compaction • pollution • Soil and terrain constraints • Climate change Leads to low soil productivity, low food production, low food quality Source: Jones et al. 2013. Soil Atlas of Africa Main land degradation types in Africa
  4. 4. Nutrient depletion • Nutrient depletion means more nutrients are removed from the soil than are replaced • SSA fertilizer use is currently 12 kg/ha versus 150 kg/ha in Asia • Low farmers’ access to fertilizers (supply and affordability) • Farmers lack knowledge about optimal fertilizer choice and application • Poor farm management practices such as leaving soil bare, monocropping, sub-optimal use of organic manure Leads to low food production, and hidden hunger
  5. 5. Soil erosion • ~ 14 million km2 of African soils are affected by wind and water erosion • ~ 65% of the continent’s farm land is affected by erosion induced losses of topsoil and soil nutrients. Particularly affected countries are: • Burkina Faso, • Burundi, • Ethiopia, • Madagascar, • Lesotho, • Morocco and Rwanda • Many more No soil, no food production
  6. 6. • Soil organic carbon stocks vary widely in African countries • Carbon losses driven by inappropriate land use or management practices Loss of soil organic carbon Cameroon
  7. 7. Rwanda Nigeria South Africa, Lesotho, Kingdom of Eswati Soil carbon loss reduces soil fertility, water holding capacity and more Burundi
  8. 8. Soil pollution • Mainly caused by human activities: • Contaminants may include metals, hydrocarbons and other toxic organic pollutants, pathogens and substances • Pollution poses a worrisome threat to agricultural productivity, food safety, human health. • Top priority to prevent soil pollution
  9. 9. Main challenges associated with SSM in Africa • Inadequate capacity, knowledge and experience to plan and implement SSM • Insufficient policy support for SSM • Soil information/data at national level is often inadequate / too outdated to support decision making and monitoring. • Lack of national or umbrella organizations leading the promotion of and creating awareness of SSM. • Weak linkages between researchers, farmers and extension services to optimize information exchange. • Insecure land tenure / land administration systems which discourage farmers from investing in the soils they manage.
  10. 10. Some SSM priorities of SSM in Africa • Increasing soil organic carbon • Soil conservation and erosion control • Rehabilitating degraded soils • Using climate smart agroforestry/agriculture • Improved soil fertility management • Using irrigation for improved crop production
  11. 11. Some SSM priorities of SSM in Africa • National soil information systems • Equipping soil testing laboratories • Building capacities to use and adopt SSM practices development and awareness on SSM • Creating legislation and policy guidelines for SSM • Many more
  12. 12. Conclusion • Even though there are numerous challenges to sustainable soil management in Africa, I strongly believe that the program “Afrisoils: Boosting soil productivity for a food and nutrition secure Africa” when fully functional would tackle these challenges. • There is therefore the need to properly support the project with adequate funds and people with high scientific and managerial skills

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